It’s easy to assess an employee or candidate’s technical skills using simulations, so why not use the same technique for finding out how good someone is at a particular soft skill?
Assessment centers are used to recreate the complexity of real work situations requiring strategic and/or operational analysis on the basis of partial information, management of a team of staff each with specific drivers, etc. Apostrof’s expertise lies in its analysis of behaviour related to skills, personality and potential through workplace simulations. Our team gives the participant the necessary cues to reproduce a real-life work situation.
Why choose an assessment center?
Nowadays assessment lies at the heart of skills management, currently a very hot topic. A raft of legal obligations has been introduced in the last few years to make companies protect themselves against the future loss of talent and maintain the employability of their employees: annual performance appraisals, strategic workforce planning, mandatory interviews, etc.
There are many requirements, but the tools and time available to managers and HR departments are not unlimited. Assessment centers can be used to identify the talent of the future that already exists within a company. By outsourcing the process, you don’t need any particular skills – just a reasonable budget and some specialists with experience in the process.
Strengths of the assessments
The main advantage of these assessments is their degree of predictability. Asking a candidate or employee to perform a task and observing how they go about completing it stays within the realm of factual observation.
Even participants themselves appreciate the operational and practical aspect of the exercises. Participants are quick to spot the link between the exercises and the job they may go on to do, which is not always the case with traditional personality tests and other psycho-technical tests.
Furthermore, the analysis carried out afterwards provides an accurate picture of the candidate’s skills and potential. Along with the company, they receive 360°feedback on their strengths and the areas they need to work on, something employees tend not to receive too often from their line managers. In fact, very few candidates ever receive feedback from their direct managers on the work they do.
So how does it work?
An assessment center measures the ‘gap’ between the skills an employee has and the skills a company needs for a particular job. It should therefore be used as part of recruitment and internal mobility processes and in advance of training. In the latter case, it makes it easier to choose the right training or to design specific coaching.
Some examples of aspects assessed during an assessment center exercise are:
- Analytical skills,
- Communication skills,
- Open-mindedness, etc.
Each aspect is apparent in behaviour observable by our team of experts. Take open-mindedness as an example. What are we looking for in a participant’s posture and what they say during the assessment center process? Firstly, we’re looking at how they react to suggestions from the group: are they receptive to all ideas? Do they try to improve on ideas contributed by other people? And so on…
Are assessment centers for everyone?
Assessment centers are a method particularly well suited to experts, sales personnel, senior managers and executives. However, a special assessment platform can be set up for supervisory staff. Obviously, the process must be properly understood, which is why it’s usually offered by specialist firms. Internally, this kind of assessment may seem less relevant, especially from the point of view of the employee, who has a (known) history within the organisation.
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